To maintain the technological superiority of the American warfighter--and build partnerships with small businesses--the Office of Naval Research (ONR) joined entrepreneurs, start-ups and already established companies last week at the 27th annual Navy Gold Coast Small Business Procurement Event at the San Diego Convention Center.
Rick ONeil, ONR's executive director of acquisitions management, was a featured speaker at Gold Coast, sharing valuable tips on how to do business with the command, which includes the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL).
"This was my first time attending the Navy Gold Coast and it was a spectacular event," said ONeil. "It was an amazing couple of days with several hundred attendees representing small businesses from across the country, and a lineup of extremely impressive speakers from various government organizations, Congress and industry."
"In today's acquisitions world, small businesses need to understand that there are a number of opportunities throughout the Navy and Department of Defense," said Brenda Pickett, associate director of ONR's Office of Small Business Programs. "That's why events such as the Navy Gold Coast are so critical to educating entrepreneurs about how to do business with the defense department."
Gold Coast provides a forum for government agencies to engage small businesses on critical issues affecting them, and outlines best practices for succeeding in the federal sector. During the event, ONR team members offered attendees insight on the command's contracts and acquisitions process, and discussed research and technology concepts of mutual benefit. More than 1,000 attendees and 250 exhibitors were at this year's gathering.
ONR's Office of Small Business Programs provides access to the information needed to compete and participate in the often complex federal acquisition process. The office targets small, disadvantaged, women-owned, service-disabled veteran- and veteran-owned businesses--as well as those located in historically underutilized business zones (often in urban and rural communities).
ONR and NRL mainly fund scientific research through the Broad Agency Announcement solicitation process and the Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer Program--which provides opportunities for small businesses to develop innovative technologies that address high-priority Navy needs. ONR and NRL also purchase a variety of support services and supplies from numerous small businesses.
Many small businesses have great new technologies and concepts, but they don't know where to start, said Pickett. "Finding out that ONR is an entry point for the Department of the Navy science and technology acquisition cycle is a real eye opener."
Gold Coast is hosted by the Navy's Office of Small Business Programs and co-sponsored on a rotating basis among the major commands throughout the Navy and Marine Corps.